Over a century of passion for photography is brought together in the new APO-Summicron-SL 50 f/2 ASPH. to create a new dimension of visual acuity. Its unique combination of the highest detail rendition and a focal length that gets closest to what is naturally perceived by the human eye delivers especially ‘authentic’ results. Perfectly matched to the state-of-the-art SL-System, with one of the fastest autofocus systems in the professional camera segment, the APO-Summicron-SL 50 f/2 ASPH. captures the essence of special moments in a flash with razor-sharp fidelity.
The autofocus system shared by the Summicron-SL lenses is fast, precise, and nearly silent. Their outstanding AF performance figures are thanks to the autofocus drive unit they both utilize. These are limited only by the mass of the glass elements moved when focusing; the speed of moving from infinity to the closest focusing distance. In order to preserve the compact dimensions of the lenses, the integration of these components must be perfectly optimized within all design constraints.
Specialists from the areas of optical engineering, mechanical engineering and electronics worked together as an interdisciplinary team on the development of a unique lens concept based on double internal focusing. This system, comprising two especially light focusing lenses, allows the construction of particularly small and compact drive systems. While being able to work within tight space constraints, the drive motors used must maintain peak performance in all situations to be chosen for such a cutting-edge camera system.
Several contrast measurements at various focusing positions must be made before the correct direction for focusing can be determined and followed by precise focusing. In this procedure, the focusing lens elements must be moved rapidly in accordance with the speed specifications of the contrast AF system. This requires a dynamic drive system without any room for error.
In the Summicron-SL lenses, the drive units installed are extremely powerful and robust stepping motors with Dual Syncro Drive™. Thanks to these, the entire focusing range can be traveled completely in fractions of a second. This means that the Summicron-SL lenses achieve values that are among the best in the full-frame system segment in terms of speed, precision, and operating noise.
With a maximum aperture of f/2, the SL-Summicron lenses are significantly more compact than even faster lenses, but still allow photographers to work with similar depth of field. The reason for this is contrast: the area of highest contrast is incredibly sharp, while zones with lower contrast are unsharp or beautifully blurred.
In the case of SL-Summicron lenses, this difference in contrast is considerably higher than that of conventional lenses: sharply focused objects show much higher contrast than objects that are out of focus. This means that objects “pop” more distinctly out of the foreground or background and more effectively isolate the subject. This creates a three-dimensional visual effect with very impressive depth.
In the construction of the Summicron-SL lenses, particular attention has been paid to the prevention of stray light and reflections. The optimization of the optical and mechanical design was carried out in elaborate simulations before the construction of the first prototype lenses. Unavoidable reflections are reduced to the lowest possible level by high-quality optical coatings of the lens surfaces.
The focusing and aperture setting functions of a SL-Summicron lens are based on a multitude of control systems and mathematical operations. The demands on the electronics are particularly high in the case of the dual-synchro drive focusing system.
The two autonomous focusing units must be moved in perfect synchronization and positioning data must be analyzed at a very high sampling rate and passed on to the camera. Here, the communication with the camera is so fast that there is no perceptible delay. These are the primary preconditions for fast and precise contrast autofocus.
The aperture is driven by a stepping motor. Here, a special micro-step control system ensures precise and fast movements with minimized vibration.
SL-Summicron Lenses feature a totally new manual focusing ring construction concept. In this concept, a ring magnet with alternating north-south magnetization is embedded in the manual focusing ring. The magnetic field changes its polarity when the ring is turned. A sensor monitors the status of the magnetic field and sends the data to the main processor. The drive then shifts the lens to the corresponding focusing position on the basis of the angle of rotation and the rotational speed.
The construction of the manual focus ring guarantees reliable sealing against dust and water spray, provides protection against impacts and other mechanical stresses, and prevents focusing inaccuracies as a consequence of temperature fluctuations. Even after years of use, the manual focus ring of a SL-Summicron lens maintains a smooth action without play and homogeneous focusing.
The consistently compact dimensions, low weight, and the excellent grip and feel of the SL-Summicron lenses are particularly impressive when shooting. Thanks to the almost identical design of the Summicron-SL lenses, each one handles nearly identically and the center of gravity remains largely the same. This means that the camera always lies perfectly in the hand and makes working from a tripod much easier.
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